ReadCoor, the developer of a panomic spatial sequencing platform, said today it has received a grant for an undisclosed amount from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) and DAF, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

ReadCoor said the grant will enable it to spatially map cortical cells using fluorescent in situ sequencing (FISSEQ) for the Human Cell Atlas. The company and its funding partners aim to benchmark in situ technologies and establish best practices for the Human Cell Atlas, a CZI-funded global collaboration to map and characterize all cells in a healthy human body—including cell types, numbers, locations, relationships, and molecular components.

The Atlas will contain in depth variance maps of cell transcriptomes, genomes, proteomes, metabolomes, and epigenetic landscapes.

FISSEQ is a spatial sequencing platform designed to read and visualize the 3D coordinates of molecules of intact tissue, a capability that according to ReadCoor offers the potential for revolutionizing panomics and pathology.

FISSEQ is intended to provide deep insight into cell variation in the context of the tissue microenvironment, a feature that has proven difficult or impossible to obtain with traditional in situ methods. FISSEQ also offers researchers an opportunity to locate genes that have mutated away from the original sequence due to its ability to produce reads without known gene targets—in contrast to most standard in situ methods, which are blind to such changes and can miss altered genes.

Developed in the lab of George Church, Ph.D., of Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, and first published in Science in 2014, the FISSEQ platform has applications that include drug development, diagnostics, and machine learning.

Consortium Members

The research project is part of a consortium of research institutions led by the Allen Institute. In addition to Dr. Church, Consortium researchers include Ed Lein, Ph.D., and Hongkui Zeng, Ph.D., of the Allen Institute for Brain Science; Aviv Regev, Ph.D., Evan Macosko, M.D., Ph.D., and Fei Chen, Ph.D., of the Broad Institute; and Long Cai, Ph.D., and Barbara Wold, Ph.D., of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Also serving as researchers within the consortium are Anthony Zador, M.D., Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; Paola Arlotta, Ph.D., and Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D., of Harvard University; Sten Linnarsson, Ph.D., of Karolinska Institute; Joakim Lundeberg, Ph.D. of KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Ed Boyden, Ph.D., of Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mats Nilsson, Ph.D., of Stockholm University; and Kun Zhang, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego.

The ReadCoor team is led by Samuel A. Inverso, Ph.D., the company’s scientific co-founder and director of sponsored research.

“Our team is honored to be part of this consortium of world-leading academic scientists to contribute to the Human Cell Atlas,” ReadCoor CEO Shawn Marcell said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our fellow collaborators to deliver a robust map of cortical cells and transcend our foundational understanding of health and disease.”

CZI is a philanthropic organization focused on supporting basic biomedical research and education through personalized learning. In 2016, CZI committed $3 billion toward basic research aimed at curing, preventing, or managing all diseases by the end of the century.  Founded in December 2015. CZI is named for pediatrician Priscilla Chan, M.D., and her husband, Facebook founder, chairman, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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